So many Starbucks™

It’s 5:30 AM and I’ve already been up for a couple of hours. While the initial jet-lag is over, I’m still on an Amish-farmer schedule over here for some reason. It’s ok, it lets me overlap with people back home more easily, and I kind of like being up-and-about in the early morning hours of Tokyo.

Those tall buildings above are in Shinjuku, which is just south of where we’re staying. We’re very near the Shin Ōkubo station, which is the home of K-Pop fandom and tons of Korean food! There’s a crazy coffee shop just around the corner called Caesar Cafe where you can get a coffee with your favorite K-Pop band logo screen-printed on the top in cocoa. I almost wish I had a favorite K-Pop band just so I could try it!

This is a view down the main street where we’re staying. It’s obviously early morning because a) there are no cars and b) I was actually able to stop walking long enough get this shot. By 9:00 AM this street will be wall-to-wall people and traffic, and it doesn’t seem to let up until the wee hours of the night.

One of my favorite parts of travelling is ferreting out the little differences and trying to figure them out. For example, since Japan is left-side drive, people walk on the left instead of the right. No big deal, except… for some reason going up the stairs from the subway platform, you keep right. Usually. I’m still trying to figure out the logic behind this one.

Another little difference is subway seat etiquette. In Japan, it’s every man (woman, or child) for themselves. You don’t give your seat up, unless you’re in a “priority seat” which is placarded and differently-colored for the disabled, etc. And speaking of placards, they’re everywhere. And if you don’t speak or read Japanese, these placards can make you pretty paranoid after a while. Like, I’m wondering if it contains life-saving information that I must have or if it’s just telling me not to stick my finger in the outlet.

You’re probably wondering about the giant spider. It located just outside of Roppongi Hills, which is a big office/shopping complex located to the southeast of us. Selene and I went there yesterday to a Meetup for programmers. I was curious to meet some local developers, and Selene wanted to check out a jazz festival nearby. The meetup was hard to find. Like *really* hard. It was at a Starbucks, but by the time I found it I’d already seen three different Starbucks. After wandering and cursing around this huge skyscraper for about 20 minutes we eventually located them, and they were a pretty friendly group. There was a front-end developer from London, a C# guy from Germany, and even an ex-Microsoft guy from Atlanta! We shared gaijin tips with each other and talked a little shop, overall it was fun to be able to talk to new people in English for a while.

The interior of the Roppongi skyscraper very much reminded me of the shops at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Lots of Gucci, expensive chocolates, and marble. Not my everyday cup of tea (ocha, which we drink a lot of, btw), but it was a fun trip overall. They meet every Saturday, so maybe I’ll head back over again.

That’s it for now, I’m starting to get hungry, so I’ll probably head down to the conbini (convenience store) for a rice ball or something. I’ve given up keto for the trip, it’s just too much to explain with hand-gestures. I’m not too worried, though, we’re walking a few miles every day and the apartment is a fourth-floor walk-up. That’s what I told myself last night when I was eating my second helping of pad thai, anyway 🙂